The Elephant Roundup (March 2021)

Yelena Kalinsky's picture

An occasional newsletter from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.

Virtual Conferences

  • Roger C. Schonfeld and Laura Brown, "A Framework for the Future of Conferences," Scholarly Kitchen, March 1, 2021,

    • "At Ithaka S+R, we are preparing to launch a cohort-based strategic analysis of the future of the academic conference, and as a piece of that are developing a framework for analyzing the future of meetings. [...] Scholarly societies and other conference organizers have been grappling with these issues, and more, without any sort of roadmap, in many cases hoping to do their best during one disrupted year and hoping that things return to normal in 2021. But nothing is, strictly speaking, going to return to normal. The pandemic has exposed all manner of inefficiencies and outdated practices in every sector, accelerating changes that were coming in any case. Conference organizers would do well to plan not just for a year of disruption but for a future that recognizes the changing value proposition of the conference, brought on by growing competition for our attention, increasing costs and concerns with travel, and the opportunities that can be fostered by virtual and hybrid environments."

Libraries & Librarianship

  • Lisa Peet, “Califa’s Veronda Pitchford on Libraries as Second Responders,” Library Journal, March 9, 2021,

    • "The Califa Group—a nonprofit membership consortium of public, academic, school, research, corporate, medical, law, and special libraries across California—was recently awarded an Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant for the Libraries as Second Responders project, which will help train library staff to serve communities that have been, and continue to be, highly impacted by COVID-19. Califa Assistant Director Veronda J. Pitchford is the principal investigator."

  • Karen P. Nicholson, Jane Schmidt, and Lisa Sloniowski, eds., Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol 6 (2020), Special Focus on Academic Libraries and the Irrational, [OA]

    • "So much of our current experience of academic libraries and librarianship is presented as the application of common-sense tactics in response to unchangeable, inexorable realities. This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship (CJAL) considers whether the seemingly logical pursuit of innovation, accountability, and efficiency in the face of this so-called reality puts academic libraries at risk of be-coming irrational or even absurd—that is, marked by contradiction and incoherence, ultimately alienating library workers and their publics.

Open Access

  • Christina Emery, "Building an Easier Path Toward Open Access Book Publishing: Support for Authors," The Scholarly Kitchen, March 11, 2021, (h/t H-HisBibl)

    • "The conversation around open access books seems to have moved on from debating the benefits for readers and authors, to how open access book publishing can be better supported. This is particularly important in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) where a lack of funding is a challenge for many scholars when faced with increasing mandates for open access, especially for scholarly books, which prevails as a central publication format in HSS."

  • MIT Press launches Direct to Open (D2O) framework for open access monographs,

    • "Direct to Open harnesses collective action to support open access to excellent scholarship. Developed over two years with the generous support of the Arcadia Fund, in close collaboration with the library community[.]"

  • See also: "MIT Press’s Direct to Open: Determining Success and Incentives," The Authority File podcast, March 10, 2021,

    • Discussion of MIT's collective action model for open access monograph publishing with Gregory T. Eow, President, Center for Research Libraries and Emily Farrell, Library Partnerships and Sales Lead, MIT Press.


  • "Providing Providing Online Access to Photographic Archive Collections: A Report on Copyright Issues," Paul Mellon Center News, Yale University, October 28, 2020, (h/t H-HistBibl

    • "PHAROS – an international consortium of fourteen European and North American art-historical photographic archives – has published a ground-breaking new report exploring the cross-border copyright issues involved in creating an online open-access research platform."

Digital Accessibility

  • Bureau of Internet Accessibility, "Make Your Hashtags Accessible," Digital Accessibility Blog, February 5, 2019,

    • "Hashtags may be one of the best ways to reach new audiences on social media, letting people who don't yet know about you or your company find you quickly. But how can you make hashtags more accessible so that the people you reach can easily interpret them?"


  • The Authority File podcast from Choice, a publishing unit of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association,

    • "The Authority File provides insight on the academic library market through conversations with representatives of some of the biggest and most innovative companies influencing it, as well as authors of insightful books, librarians who are transforming their field, and academics whose research is laying the groundwork for the future."

The Big Picture

  • Charles Watkinson and Melissa Pitts, “Re-Envisioning Humanities Infrastructure,” Inside Higher Ed, February 22, 2021, (h/t @AshanteIUP)

    • "Humanities scholarship needs a new system for funding its infrastructure, one that recognizes university presses as mission-critical components worthy of intentional, inter-institutional commitments -- rather than as auxiliary units of a few individual institutions, funded by sales and assessed only by the bottom line. We challenge private and government funders, especially as they create future frameworks for open scholarship, to protect and enhance the vital roles of public engagement and quality assurance played by university presses in myriad disciplines. We likewise call upon the leadership of colleges and universities -- whether these institutions have their own press or not -- to exercise similar foresight."

Upcoming Events

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